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Not just laundry pods: Beware of these poisons, choking hazards to young children

August 9, 2018

Cleaning supplies and laundry detergent are obvious red flags if little kids are around -- but there are some other hazardous items you might be overlooking.

Kids get into everything, and it can only take an instant. Of the two million calls made to poison control, nearly half concerned kids ages six and younger.

On Consumer Reports’ list of risky items is coins, which sometimes require surgery to remove. Button batteries are also easily swallowed.

“Button-cell batteries are small flat batteries that look like coins,” said Don Huber, a product safety expert at Consumer Reports. “It becomes a choking hazard, and asphyxiation may occur.”

According to nonprofit Safe Kids Worldwide, each year in the U.S., more than 2,800 kids are treated in emergency rooms after swallowing button batteries. Need to find them? Look for toys and household electronics with secure battery compartments that require a screwdriver to open.

Another household danger is cosmetics and personal care products.

“Many of them contain ethanol, which is the same type of alcohol you find in alcoholic beverages,” said Huber. “Just a small amount can cause a young child of, say, 25 pounds or less to become extremely intoxicated.”

A more obvious concern is cleaning products. Experts say it’s best to keep them in their original, child-resistant packaging and put them out of reach.

As for those colorful laundry detergent pods that can look like candy, Consumer Reports says if you have young kids in your home, it’s best to use liquid detergent instead. Even if you put some of these products in a higher place in the house, a curious child may try to use a chair to reach them.

Everyone, especially parents, should have the poison control hotline handy.

The number to call is 1-800-222-1222.

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